Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how) into two piles -- the "buy" pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the "read" pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of). Thursday afternoons you'll be able to get his thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down, and here's some common definitions used in the column) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR OCTOBER 29, 2014
Misunderstandings abound in a good, if not great, issue of this sprawling space saga. The "freelancer" (read: bounty hunter) The Will has a sister who loves him, and she's tracking down what in the name of Billy Dee Williams happened to her brother. Lots of characters are trying to track down things they lost, with threats and recriminations along the way. Some fun moments, no nudity this time and while the pacing may not be as brisk as some other issues, this is still fine entertainment that stands far above much of what's on the stands.
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #34
This issue is both dazzling and befuddling. Let's get the bad out of the way first: there are several things that don't make sense for sixty foot tall mechanoids. At the start of the issue, Trailcutter (formerly known as Trailblazer) is reading the "postwar edition" of Megatron's book, "Towards Peace," from a tablet of some sort, like he had a Kindle account. Later on, Megatron is shown writing on another tablet like device, the same way these reviews are written into an iPad. For creatures whose brains are computers, this makes zero sense. Why wouldn't Megatron transcribe the writings on to an internal hard drive and transmit the work electronically? Why would Trailcutter not download the whole thing and review it internally while chatting with Bluestreak and Mainframe? That's the only illogical part of this otherwise amazing, amazing story. To whit: we take a look at some of why Megatron changed from a thoughtful miner writing about class struggle and became a violent, cannon-wielding despot. That bit of the story is fantastic. Then, intertwined with great skill, the Protectobot First Aid discovers a wounded Transformer and tries to save him, learning why the Ferengi coined Rule 285. That part is amazing. Despite the technical oddities, the story and the artwork are top notch and kudos go to James Roberts, Atilio Rojo and Joana LaFuente.
(Darryl Makes Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
A winner on style and energy more than anything else, this clever issue may have a trope or two, but by cleverly juxtaposing an immersive period piece (the streets of New York in the 1980s) with the political struggles of today. Likewise, there are some great art sequences with action that can rattle your fillings, a great Bronze Age feel and some solid moments of superheroics. The challenge to the status quo is crystal clear and this is entertaining stuff.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Given that "Supernals Experiment" #2 also came out (but can't be reviewed due to conflicts of interest), it's a great week so far!
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
The metaphor of a Black man controlled and made into a weapon has been done admirably by "The Truth," but Marvel revisits that ground with Nathon Edmondson's military stylings on "Deathlok" #1, a treatise on how a fully functional super soldier works when his makers are elated and have no consequences. Sociological awkwardness aside, this is a passable espionage and black ops superhero story.
"Harlem Shadow" #1 was a solid if unremarkable introduction for the period piece, as a skillful vigilante dispenses justice (read: kicking people in the face in dark alleys) to protect the 1930s citizens of the New York neighborhood. Stark, effective artwork, serviceable scripting, but literally nothing you haven't seen before.
On one hand, "Axis: Revolutions" #1 has Spider-Man moralizing about tolerance and understanding for ten pages, all while resisting the Red Skull's hate waves washing across the world. That's boring. However, in the backup, Dr. Strange is a ranting, irritable wackjob as Wong calmly serves and follows, trying to stop the hate wave in a very entertaining, deeply revelatory interlude. It's a great, fun story that works in the context of the crossover but could stand on its own. The Doctor makes up for the Spider.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Brass Sun" #6, "Elektra" #7, "Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor" #4, "Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers" #3, "Death Of Wolverine: Deadpool And Captain America" #1, "Sex" #17, "Batman Eternal" #30, "God Is Dead" #23, "Justice League Dark Annual" #2, "Archer And Armstrong" #25, "Thunderbolts" #32, "New 52 Futures End" #26, "Groo Vs Conan" #4, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #20, "Sinestro" #6, "Thought Bubble Anthology 2014", "Death Of Wolverine The Logan Legacy" #3, "Dredd Uprise" #1, "Harbinger Omegas" #3, "Nova" #22, "Black Science" #10, "Axis Carnage" #1, "Earth 2 World's End" #4, "Aliens Fire And Stone" #2, "Savage Dragon" #199, "Deep Gravity" #4, "Bunker" #7, "Rachel Rising" #29, "Uber" #19, "Justice League United Annual" #1, Wolverine And The X-Men" #11, "Savage Dragon" #199, "All-New X-Men" #33.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
Hey! Good news, everyone! Nothing was terrible!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Nothing bad's worth crowing about and there were some solid attempts in there.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
A good jump, nothing bad that happened ... yeah, we can call this week a winner!
If you check out the Aspen solicitations for December, you'll find "Fathom Sourcebook" #1, written by the scribe of this very column. Pre-orders are ready to roll, so run out and ask your retailer now or check it out on ComiXology December 10th!
If you swing by Comikaze on Saturday, the writer of this column will also be in room 406AB at 1PM for the panel, "Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century alongside "Living Single" vet Erika Alexander, her husband the "Concrete Park" artist Tony Puryear, television writer Geoffrey Thorne and more.
As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 words worth of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where you can get "The Crown: Ascension" and "Faraway," five bucks a piece, or spend a few more dollars and get "New Money" #1 from Canon Comics, the rambunctious tale of four multimillionaires running wild in Los Angeles. Too rich for your blood? Download the free PDF of "Cruel Summer: The Visual Mixtape." Love these reviews? It'd be great if you picked up a copy. Hate these reviews? Find out what this guy thinks is so freakin' great. There's free sample chapters too, and all proceeds to towards the care and maintenance of his kids ... oh, and to buy comic books, of course. There's also a bunch of great stuff -- fantasy, superhero stuff, magical realism and more -- available from this writer on Amazon. What are you waiting for? Go buy a freakin' book already!
Got a comic you think should be reviewed in The Buy Pile? If we get a PDF of a fairly normal length comic (i.e. "less than 64 pages") by no later than 24 hours before the actual issue arrives in stores (and sorry, we can only review comics people can go to stores and buy), we guarantee the work will get reviewed, if remembered. Physical comics? Geddouttahere. Too much drama to store with diminishing resources. If you send it in more than two days before comics come out, the possibility of it being forgotten increases exponentially. Oh, you should use the contact form as the CBR email address hasn't been regularly checked since George W. Bush was in office. Sorry!